Burning a varsity residence - devoid of logic

2016-09-21 06:00
PHOTO: .Thabang Mathebula  “It does not make sense to burn institutions that we wish to use for our advancement.”

PHOTO: .Thabang Mathebula “It does not make sense to burn institutions that we wish to use for our advancement.”

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I READ with horror how disabled students narrowly escaped being burnt to death when someone or some people decided to burn their residence, which houses 68 disabled female students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal recently.

This act reminded me of a Japanese man who knifed to death close to 20 disabled people in a care home because he felt they did not deserve to live as life for them was presumably unbearable.

Apparently, the man who has since undergone psychiatric treatment in Japan, had initially notified the Japanese parliament about his perceived need to annihilate the disabled if they found their existence to be a burden. As a disabled person, I find this gross, unjust and uncalled for.

The greatest scientist in the world is a wheelchair-bound man who cannot speak, but who has since made a significant contribution to modern science through illuminating lectures.

Some of the finest performing artists in the world, especially musicians, are disabled men and women whose lives have contributed to making the world a more humane and enjoyable place.

So the choice of burning a residence for disabled people begs an explanation as it seems to be devoid of logic, or simply, uncalled for, if not childish, cruel and fascistic.

To start with, it does not make sense to burn institutions that we wish to use for our advancement. But again, it would seem that some people do not agree. Perhaps for some, if it was right to do it during the fight against Bantu education in the apartheid era, they may argue, then it is still right now. I beg to differ.

Getting rid of colonial symbols like statues is a symbolic fight against the betrayal of a racist past which undermined taxpayers and South African citizens just because they were black - that one I can comprehend. But burning buildings or institutions of learning, which our children wish to access for free does not make sense.

Choosing a place that houses the disabled to register one’s anger and frustration makes me doubt the mental fitness of those who did it. Do they not deserve to go to a mental institution for psychiatrically related treatment? I wonder.

I am glad that student leaders have distanced themselves from acts of violence committed against institutions of learning. One would have been puzzled as to what kind of future leaders despised the disabled and their place of learning.

But again, in a world that is full of drugs and alcohol, one would not be surprised if we now have in our midst young people who feel the need to target the weak to vent their frustration.

How can one interpret the fact that youngsters, who take hard drugs, are capable of raping a vulnerable old lady in the community?

In a normal society, the disabled and the elderly are protected and cared for, and even showered with loving gestures, as we have been accustomed to seeing society’s role models as in the likes of our new city mayor, Themba Njilo, organising parties and tours for the elderly using personal resources as a successful businessman.

It is possible that the idea of burning a residence for the disabled was not only sick, but also informed by the use of a destructive substance, which has obscured the thinking of whoever came up with such a weird idea.

I wish the culprits could be treated like the Japanese person who slew disabled people in that country as a way of freeing them from their misery, by going to a psychiatric hospital.

Who decides who is happy or miserable? What is misery? Is society not sick in general? Who determines that physical disability is the only form of misery? What about poverty? Would you burn the houses of poor people just because they are poor? Would you burn the outside building of an unemployed person just because they have no job and they lead a miserable life or they cannot afford to pay their way through life?

What about an unhappy woman who has a husband that cheats on her as a way of life? Would you kill such a woman because her life is perceived as miserable?

Who said the disabled, the elderly, the poor, the unemployed and the abused cannot achieve freedom from their so-called misery if given support and love?

I am think that whoever decided that setting alight a residence for the disabled was a right thing to do, needs a lot of help and love as well.

Maybe disability represents a part of him or her that is sick, unfulfilled or wanting and getting rid of the disabled would be an act of redemption for their weakness in their sick minds. Maybe they genuinely need medical attention.

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